NAS (freenas) vs DAS for backups only?

Hi all.
Thanks for your support.

Please, i need your help.

My server:
Proliant ML110 G6. 16GB ECC RAM, Xeon 3430 @ 2.40GHz, 1TB HDD, Windows Server 2008R2.
There are no virtual machines or special services (except for my billing system) implemented in my server.
Only about 6GB of RAM (or less) are in constant use. The rest is free. About the processor, the usual load is about 10%. The maximum is about 50%, but it is rare and happens and in really short time intervals.

The goal:
To create a backup (only) directory to keep safe the documents of all the 44 computers that we have, plus the billing system. Backups will be made each week.

The options:

1.- To biuld a NAS using the FreeNAS OS.
RAM: Kingston, DDR3, 8GB, ECC.
PROCESSOR: Intel Dual Core G3260
STORAGE: 2x4TB in RAID1 (mirrored). Total capacity: 4TB.

Approximate cost: 7,500 mexican peso (363USD) … This price is just for the box (Server). We already have the hard disks, 2x4TB Western Digital enterprise class.

2.- To buy a little box that allow me to creare a RAID1 using the 2x4TB hard disks that we already have, plug it to the server via USB/eSATA and create a shared folder.
(My server does not not support HDD´s bigger than 2TB)

This may be an example of the box:

Or we can take a more serious brand like Western Digital.
The idea of this is to reduce cost.
Approximate cost for the box: 3,000 – 4,000 mexican peso. (145 – 194 USD)

The advantages of building the FreeNAS server are:
Performance: Freenas will have the higher specs.
Scalability: Adding HDD´s is possible.
The safety of data: Freenas has ZFS filesystem and would also have ECC RAM.
The downside of the freenas is the cost and the expertrice needed to deploy and manage.

My questions are:
¿Do we really need the FreeNAS server? ¿Is it worth to spend 370USD while we can have enough with the 200USD box? ¿Will the 200USD box have enough performance to stand the backups?

Maybe, building the freenas server is like buying a porsche just to drive it to school while we can easily use a bicycle or a cheaper car.

¿What would you choose?

I would really appreciate your help.

Ramón Sánchez V.


I think you will need to make your choice based on the amount of files that you will be backing up, since you have a capacity limitation on the DAS.

Thank you ERmorel.

I already have a decision about the capacity.

We will install 2x4TB Western Digital hard disks. The exact model is: WD4000F9YZ

Unless you suggest something different, we will be running a RAID 1, so we can be protected against a single HDD failure.

Only thing that I am worried about is the performance of the device.

I wonder if a NAS like the “My Cloud Ex2” will be capable to support all the workload that the 43 computers will put on it.

And I am not talking about the storage capacity, I am talking about the performance… I mean: Freezing, rebooting, writing speed decrease, etc.

The NAS will not be constantly accesed like a shared folder commonly does! It will be used for backups only… Neither will share or store media files like music or videos, which will be excluded from the backup.

Of course, we will never use Plex.

It will only store “office files” like word, excel, powerpnt, pdf, etc.

That´s why we do not need a really big capacity.

Also, the backups will be constantly moved to HP RDX cartridges, helping to make free space.

As far as I know, the “Mycloud Ex2” is running 512MB of RAM and a 1.2GHz processor, that’s why I´m planning to connect it directly to our server and share it, instead of connecting it to the network.

Our server has 16GB of ECC RAM and also has a bigger processor (Xeon).

I believe that if I plug the NAS to our server, it is the server who will use it´s RAM and processor, allowing the NAS to run cool.

Now we are talking about a DAS. ¿Am I right?.

The only reason why I do not install the hard disks into my server (which will be the best option) is that my server does not support drives which are larger than 2TB.

I am also running out of physical space in my server´s case.



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